Tag Archives: type 1 diabetes stories

Traveling with Diabetes

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I’ve travelled several times each month this year and it’s given me some lessons:

I’ve learned that I get motion sickness on planes and cannot travel without taking Dramamine.  I tried to forego it once and that one time we just so happened to have a bumpy ride.  It is not fun to worry about dropping blood sugars while throwing up and being jostled about in the tiny plane lavatory. 

Taking all the airport stairs and skipping the moving sidewalks (is that what they’re called?) is a good way to combat all the sitting involved in travel.

Staff on planes are always happy.  I still haven’t met one that isn’t, which is freaky, but if I’m feeling low, so far they are quick to grab juice if I need it and want to conserve my glucose tablet stash for later.

The food situation when in an airport is mighty tricky.  Temptation abounds and yet the easiest way I’ve found to travel is to keep it real low carb because if things get hectic, and lately in airports, they always seem to, low carb often saves me amidst skipped blood sugar checks.

Given how close one’s next seat neighbor is in coach, I find it remarkable how injecting insulin in front of that neighbor has never been an awkward experience.  In fact, it’s a great conversation starter and I’ve literally written down each starting line for your own amusement:

“Wow, those needles are tiny, I’m so glad for you.”

“So you have diabetes, huh?”

“OMG, do you need sugar?”

“Ok, what do I do if you pass out on this flight?”

“Wow, in and out, just like that, eh?  It takes me longer to sneeze.”

“How long have you had it?”

And my personal favorite:  “Does it hurt? I’m sorry, of course it hurts, what was I thinking? That was such a stupid thing to say, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to say that, I just figured that it hurts but maybe it doesn’t or maybe you’re used to it, is that it, are you used to it? Wait…I take that back, I get migraines and I seriously doubt I’ll ever get used to them.  Just forget I said that, ok?”  5 seconds later:  “So, where ya headed?”

Smile

My First Encounter with Glucagon

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The Cleansing by Ana Morales

 

Ouch.  This post is going to hurt.

The last 2 weeks have been “epic” in the world of me and diabetes.  I haven’t struggled with highs like I have lately in the past 5 years or so.  I expect this kind of thing to happen from time to time so I’m not panicking, just trying to feel better soon so that I can get back to cleaning the house, working out, you know, living life.

Lately, to pull down a 300 I need about 10 units of insulin whereas normally, I need about 3 units.  So yesterday, I have a headache and decide to test.  I feel like my head is spinning so I squint to see what I’m doing.  I put the blood on the strip and wait for the countdown.  I see a 303.  Ugh.  I give 10 units of insulin (I really hate giving more than 5 units at a time because of the possibility of a crashing low) but I’m tired of the highs so I react.  Never “react” my friends.  Not with type 1 diabetes.  Anyway, I was also giving 10 units because I was going to eventually have dinner and this would also cover that.

Suddenly I can’t remember if I pulled out the strip or not but I notice the meter still looks on so I’m like, “huh?”  I suddenly feel instinctively told to test again.  I’m 99.  “Bah!”  I look at the vial of strips, “Code 303”.  Ugh.  Ok.  I go to Alex and tell him the silly mistake.  He says he’ll watch the kids and just to do what I need to do.  I notice there isn’t anything very high carb in the house, no juice.  I start chewing on some glucose tablets and he opens up the case of glucagon which I’ve never once had to use.  I’ve often been too high to be too low and during the last 5 years I rarely give more than 3 units of insulin at a time-which never puts me at risk for this kind of low, something I feel is a safe way to go…(retaking that note).

So Alex fixes up the glucagon and I go ahead and give myself the shot.  I use my own little needle because that sucker is scary!  Have you seen that thing?  It’s like an intramuscular needle.  Then I chew more glucose tablets and wait.  The kids are put down to sleep so luckily I have Alex with me now.  Two and a half hours later I’m 140 and I think I’ve avoided a really ugly situation when suddenly I feel extremely nauseated.  The sensation is strong enough that I’m crying in front of the toilet just like two nights ago.  I promise you all I’m not pregnant.  So something else is going on.  Anyway, after the nausea settles down I test again and find that I’m 61.  I feel so awful that I test again after five minutes and see a 45.  I can feel my blood sugar shooting down and I’m starting to sweat and tremble and feel dizzy.  Alex wants to call 911 but I think that they will just give me glucose and annoy me with their lack of type 1 knowledge and perhaps ask if I’m suicidal (wouldn’t be the first time).  Besides, I have another glucagon.  Even in my weakest moments I’m still “me”, aren’t you glad? :D

Instead I fight past the nausea while Alex forces me to sit up (really all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep) and he makes me eat glucose tablets which is hard at this point due to the low and the nausea.  I think I fought him for a while which has never happened before.  I’ve never been that kind of low.  I’ve had the kind that makes you cry but I’ve never yelled at my husband to leave me alone and let me “rest”.  He was probably thinking, “Rest?  Where, in heaven?”  I’ve heard people say that when they have a really bad low they become extremely difficult with those trying to help them.  I can now understand what they mean.  It’s like feeling very drunk.  Only worse.

Anyway, at this point I’m still calm in a sense.  I tell Alex to get his phone ready and to have the second glucagon ready just in case.  I think I see tears.  I take in about 12 more glucose tablets and test to see a 74.  It’s been three hours and my humalog is all up.  I’m so physically exhausted I lay on the bed much to Alex’s dismay as he fears I’m doing something other than sleeping.  I simply cannot move.  I can’t even open my eyes.  I tell him not to worry because as long as my blood sugar is ok, I’m not going to die.  He tests me every 15 minutes for a few hours and I go to bed at 1am with a 200.  This morning I wake up and test-and you gotta be kidding me, I’m 99 again.

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